My nephew graduated last year after playing D2 baseball for 4 years. Several months ago I asked him if he missed playing, fully expecting to hear something to the effect he wishes he could turn back the clock or something like that. He told me his misses being with teammates, traveling to different states, study groups, and friends. He then said no, he doesn't miss the competitive playing environment. He knew going in baseball was a vehicle to help him get a good education and degree. If things worked out along the way to get to the next level so be it, but his future was the degree. Upon leaving college he was immediately hired to almost a 6 figure entry level job in his field. He didn't loose his identity since his identity was being rewarded right now. Identity is ever changing, everything comes to an end. It is what you do with the things you have in the past or present that will create your identity for the future. I am nearing retirement in a few years and am thinking about my new identity that will carry me through until the next phase.